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What Is Self-Soothing and Why Is it Beneficial? 

Teaching your baby how to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night is very important – if babies never learn how to sleep, nighttime can be a nightmare for parents. What’s more, not getting enough sleep can be detrimental to a child’s health and development.

One way that you can teach your baby to sleep is to teach self-soothing. Here’s what you need to know:

What Is Self-Soothing?

Self-soothing is the process of a child learning how to calm themselves down when they are placed in their crib, or when they wake up in the middle of the night, in order to fall back asleep. The process is called “self”-soothing because it is done by the child themselves, without the help of parents.

What Are the Benefits of Self-Soothing?

There are multiple benefits of self-soothing, for parents and children alike. These benefits include:

  • Parents will gain the relief of not having to soothe a child back to sleep every time they wake up, or rock a child to sleep every night;
  • Schedules will be easier to maintain;
  • Babies will learn how to fall asleep, as well as when it’s time to fall asleep; and
  • A baby who can self-soothe often turns into a toddler who can self-soothe and handle tantrums and moods betters.

How Does a Parent Teach Self-Soothing?

You can teach your baby to self-soothe with a little effort, practice, patience, and time. Here are some tips for teaching your baby to self-soothe:

  • Put in place a bedtime routine. Bedtime routines should be consistent every night, so that your baby associates the routine with going to sleep.
  • A bedtime routine should be simple-two or three easy, consistent things to indicate that it is time for bed. For example, a feed, a book, a song or a bath, a feed then a book. Try not to make the feed the absolute last thing your baby does before falling asleep.
  • Put your baby to bed at the same time every night. It’s not just about routine, but about timing, too. Babies need plenty of sleep, so make sure that the bedtime is early enough.
  • Make sure your baby is awake when you put them to sleep – if your baby is already asleep, they won’t learn how to fall asleep without you.
  • When all your baby’s needs are met (they are full, dry, in a great sleeping environment), its OK for your baby to feel a little frustration while learning to sleep. Sleep is a learned skill, and learning a new skill is often frustrating. Sometimes babies just need a short time and the opportunity to learn how to fall asleep on their own.

Want to Learn More?

Getting your child to sleep can reduce stress and be a benefit for everyone in the home. If you want to learn more about self-soothing and other sleep training techniques, Dr. Barnett of Seven Oaks Sleep Science is ready to help you. Call Dr. Barnett today or send an email to request a consultation.